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What Were the Strengths and Weaknesses of Workers Unions

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What Were the Strengths and Weaknesses of Workers Unions

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  • March 2009
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1.What were the strengths and weaknesses of workers unions? By the end of the nineteenth century, workers unions had become major forces influencing wages and working conditions. In 1886, when successful strikes on some western railroads attracted a mass of previously unorganized unskilled workers, the Knights of Labor grew to a peak membership of a million workers. They bargained with employers, conducted boycotts, and called members out on strike to demand higher wages and better working conditions. Although, not all the strikes held by unions were successful, if enough unions survive they leave a movement larger and broader than before. But, there was weaknesses of workers unions. Not all the workers wanted to be members of the unions. So, there was individuals who were against or neutral to unions. If the strike being successful, those individuals gets the same benefits as the people who fought with the union; if the strike fails, only the union members get suffer while the strikebreakers lose nothing. So, the workers’ union could never be the wholesome as far as the threatening the employers or the congress. Workers who support unions sacrifice money and risk their jobs, even their lives. Success comes only when large numbers simultaneously follow a different rationality. Unions must persuade whole groups to abandon individualism to throw them into the strike. However, there were over 5 million immigrants in 1880s, creating a labor surplus that kept wages down. The immigrants were more controllable, more helpless than native workers; they were culturally displaced, at odds with one another, therefore useful as strikebreakers. Those strikebreakers were remaining at the work weaken the unions. The strikers, with no resources left, agreed to return to work, their leaders blacklisted. 2.How was education used to protect the capitalist system?

Control in modern times requires more than force, more than law. It required that a population dangerously...

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